Killer Chickens

Killer Chickens

A chicken is kept in a cage waiting to be inspected by health workers in Hong Kong yesterday. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

The Grim Way That H7N9 Kills

Deadly bird flu causes pneumonia, sepsis, respiratory distress

By Mark Russell, Newser Staff

The H7N9 bird flu—which now has infected 38 people and claimed 10 lives in China—kills in a grim fashion. A new report published yesterday on three of the victims describes a high fever, cough, severe pneumonia, septic shock, and damage to the brain, kidney, and other organs, reports the New York Times. The Los Angeles Times reports that all three developed acute respiratory distress syndrome, a condition that prevents enough oxygen from reaching the lungs. Despite receiving antiviral medications, two of the infected died in a week, the third after 13 days.

There’s still no sign of the virus being passed from person-to-person; however, it appears to be a type of virus that humans and mammals “probably” have no defense against, notes the NYT. “With air travel as extensive as it is now, if this is going to spread, it will spread pretty quickly,” says one flu expert with the CDC. “That’s why we’re relieved to see so far that it is localized, and not efficiently going from person to person.”

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